FSU Seal - 1851

    CIS 4930 Randomized Algorithms and Experiments in Graphs
    Summer Semester 2016

DRAFT - not ready for release

This course will explore topics in randomized algorithms and experimental studies of graphs.

Pre-Requisite: COP 4530 or equivalent

Note that this class is suitable for students in the BS program prior to OR after taking COP 4531 (Algorithms) as well as students in the BA program who want to know more about graphs, graph algorithms, and applications.

Course Coverage and Grading: This will be considered a "project course" and as such will have one or two in-term exams at about the 10th week. A project or paper, with accompanying presentation, will substitute for a final exam. The total course grade will be obtained as follows (with possible minor changes, which would be announced):

 Course Components & Due Dates 
 Component  Weight  Due Date 
 Class Participation   20%  Weeks 1 - 13 
 In-Term Exam  40%  Mar 28 - Apr 3
 Paper or Project  20%  Fri Apr 24  NO Extensions!
 Presentation  20%  Fri Apr 24  NO Extensions!
 Letter Grade Map 
 Percent   Grade 
 93 - 100   A 
 90 - 92   A- 
 88 - 89   B+ 
 83 - 87   B 
 80 - 82   B- 
 78 - 79   C+ 
 73 - 77   C 
 70 - 72   C- 
 68 - 69   D+ 
 63 - 67   D 
 60 - 62   D- 
 0 - 59   F 
 Participation Grade
The participation grade is based entirely on your contributions to the graded discussion forums. These posts will be assessed based on originality, creativity, and displayed understanding of the topic at hand. Posts that repeat statements already made by other students and non-substantive contibutions will not receive much credit.
 Topical Calendar - Seminar Phase 
 Week   Dates   Topic   Deadline 
 1    1/4-1/10    Intro    
 2    1/11-1/17    Algorithm Concepts   1/18 
 3    1/18-1/24    QuickSort   1/25 
 4    1/25-1/31    FFT   2/1 
 5    2/1-2/7    Metropolis   2/8 
 6    2/6-2/14    Kevin Bacon   2/15 
 7    2/15-2/21    Dijkstra SSSP & Algorithm A*   2/22 
 8    2/22-2/28    Google & PageRank   3/1 
 9    2/29-3/6    MapReduce   3/8 
 10    3/7-3/15    Spring Break    
 11    3/14-3/20    Red-Black Trees   3/22 
 12    3/21-3/27    Student's Choice   3/29 
 13    3/28-4/3    Term Exam   4/5 
 Deadlines - Independent Study Phase 
 Week   Dates   Topic   Deadline 
 14   4/4-4/10   Topic Selection   4/10 
 15   4/11-4/17       
 16   4/18-4/24   Paper/Project Video Presentation   4/24 

This course operates as an online seminar. This means that each student is expected to read relevant material, beginning with the notes and articles supplied and expanding in a self-directed way, and to contribute to the class discussions on the topics. Most of the discussion forums have deadlines and are graded. This is where you earn the "class participation" portion of your grade [20%].

We will discuss "Top 10" algorithms during the entire semester. The term exam will cover all topics introduced in Jan, Feb, and Mar. Details and participation due dates will be given during during the term via Blackboard.

Delivery Modes: This class is primarily conducted as an online seminar. There is a recitation session meeting on campus available to students in the Panama City area.

  • Distance Learning On-Line
  • Recitation Session On-Campus meets in Panama City Tuesday/Thursday 2:15 - 4:45pm in Weeks 2-9 and 11-13

The content, objectives, assignments, assessments, and grading are the same for all students.

Class Participation: Students are required to participate in a series of graded discussion forums in the Blackboard course site. These forums will cover topics in the required reading and may also require the student to do some experimental programming. This is the primary medium for class interaction for all students.

The on-campus group will meet on some (but not all) weeks to go over the required reading material. Any new or supplemental material from these sessions will be posted in Blackboard for all students to access.

Instructor: R C Lacher

Course Objectives: At the end of this course, the student should be able to accomplish the following, for each algorithm studied in the course:

  • Precisely describe the computational body of the algorithm
  • State and give an informal argument for the asymptotic runtime and runspace of the algorithm
  • Describe the scientific environment within which the algorithm functions
  • Describe the issues involved in proving correctness of the algorithm
  • Describe the scientific and economic impact of the algorithm
  • Provide a brief history of the discovery and subsequent development of the algorithm

In addition the student should be able to describe the importance of the study of algorithms in general, in terms of scientific and economic advancement.

Course Materials: The student should have one of the following texts:

Additional materials on the specific algorithms covered in the class will be released via the course calendar.


First Day Attendance Policy: Official university policy is that any student not attending the first class meeting will be automatically dropped from the class. For distance students, this policy is interpreted as answering "True" to the First Day Attendance Quiz in the Blackboard site.

Regular Attendance Policy: The university requires attendance in all classes. Attendance in distance classes shall mean regular access to the course web site via campus.fsu.edu and regular participation in the class discussion forums. Here, "regular" shall mean a substantial amount of time on a weekly basis. Note that individual access statistics are maintained by Blackboard.

Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the immediate family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. Accommodations for these excused absences will be made and will do so in a way that does not penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

Proctored Exam Policy: All exams must be proctored and taken at an approved testing site during the exam window. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for proctored exams in compliance with the FSU standards. Go to http://learningforlife.fsu.edu/cat/test/distancelearning/students.cfmStudent Testing Responsibilities for complete information on setting up a proctored exam site. Please note also that students taking exams on main campus in Tallahassee are now required to sign up for a time slot at the site.

Exam Makeup Policy: An exam missed without an acceptable excuse will be recorded as a grade of zero (0). The following are the only acceptable excuses:

  • If submitted prior to the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A written and signed explanation as to why the exam will missed. Illness or required professional travel are acceptable, while discretionary or personal travel are not. In any case the explanation should be accompanied by corroborating documentation, including names and contact information, and the explanation must be accepted by the instructor prior to missing the exam.
    • Evidence from a university official that you will miss the exam due to university sanctioned travel or extracurricular activity.
  • If submitted on or after the day of the scheduled exam:
    • A note from a physician, university dean, spouse, parent, or yourself indicating an illness or other extraordinary circumstance that prevented you from taking the exam and could not be planned for in advance. Again, corroborating information should be supplied.

All excuses must be submitted in writing, must be signed by the excusing authority, and must include complete contact information for the authority, including telephone numbers and address.

Missed exams with acceptable excuse will be made up or assigned the average grade of all other exams, at the option of the course instructor.

Missed, and acceptably excused, final exams will result in the course grade of 'I' and must be made up in the first two weeks of the following semester.

Grade of 'I' Policy: The grade of 'I' will be assigned only under the following exceptional circumstances:

  • The final exam is missed with an accepted excuse for the absence. In this case, the final exam must be made up during the first two weeks of the following semester.
  • Due to an extended illness or other extraordinary circumstance, with appropriate documentation, the student is unable to participate in class for an extended period. In this case, arrangements must be made to make up the missed portion of the course prior to the end of the next semester.

Completion of Work Policy: To be eligible for the grade of A or A-, passing versions of all assignments must be submitted.

Syllabus Change Policy: Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. Such notice will be in the form of a posting to the course web site on campus.fsu.edu.


The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.  Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “. . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.”  (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at http://dof.fsu.edu/honorpolicy.htm.)

All students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Policy. Please note the following items are defined and made violations by the policy:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Cheating
  3. Unauthorized Group Work
  4. Fabrication, Falsification, and Misrepresentation
  5. Multiple Submission
  6. Abuse of Academic Materials
  7. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty
  8. Attempted ...

Violations of the academic honor policy may result in failing grades and/or dismissal from the university. All students are expected to read and understand the policy.

Checking for Plagiarism: FSU subscribes several databases of papers and computer source code that have been previously published or turned in for credit in university courses worldwide. Student work may be checked in one or more of these databases for originality. Note that turning in work that contains uncited quoted material from any source is considered plagiarism and a violation of the FSU honor code.


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:
(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

(This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.)


Information regarding the status of FSU in an emergency situation may be obtained from the following sources:

  • For information specific to the Panama City Campus go to the FSUPC web page at http://www.pc.fsu.edu/ or call the Campus Hotline number 850-770-2000
  • For information related to FSU in general and the Tallahassee Campus go to the FSU alerts web page at http://www.fsu.edu/~alerts/
  • For state-wide and national information, go to the Florida Division of Emergency Management information pages at http://www.floridadisaster.org/

Any specific information related to this class will be posted on the course web site or sent via email to your fsu email address.